La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Ryan returns to Twins - but only for a couple of days

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 21, 2014 - 5:32 PM

Looking a tad thinner but still quick-witted, Twins General Manager Terry Ryan made a surprise visit to Fort Myers on Friday in the middle of recovery following surgery last month to remove  squamous cell carcinoma from the left side of his neck.

``We decided it was probably a good thing and important that I come down here and make sure everyone knew that I was still engaged,'' Ryan said. ``I'm not sure what the right decision was. I have to go back because I'm under radiation five days a week, Monday through Friday, so I can't stay long. As much as I would like to stay down here for at least a week, I can't, so I'm going back tomorrow and then get ready for Monday.'

Ryan will get a tour of the $48.5 million renovation project and planned to meet with players in the clubhouse before Saturday's game against the Yankees. Instead of addressing the club at once, Ryan planned to speak to greet the 39 players left in camp separately. ``Guy-by-guy.'' he said.

Ryan was also interested in seeing Yankees righthander Masahiro Tanaka, the scheduled starter on Saturday, pitch for the first time.

Assistant General Manager Rob Antony and other Twins employees were excited to see their leader back.

``I think it’s a relief and good for everybody to see him. Just to catch up with him and talk to him,'' Antony said. ``We went over a few things about the team but we also talked about how he’s doing. I think everybody who walked into that door when you guys walked in here were happy to see him so you can imagine that the people who work with him and live with him day in and day out were pretty happy to see him as well.”

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